SAN FRANCISCO — The sweeping change that has marked the Dodgers' turbulent season continued Saturday when promising rookies Paul Konerko and Dennis Reyes were traded to Cincinnati for all-star closer Jeff Shaw.
Interim General Manager Tom Lasorda gambled on the Dodgers' future by trading the organization's highest-rated prospects--untouchable under the former management regime--for Shaw, whom he coveted since succeeding Fred Claire as the player-personnel chief on May 22.
Lasorda believes Shaw will propel the team into the National League West race by securing late-inning leads. The payroll-slashing Reds received the Dodgers' top position-player prospect in the power-hitting Konerko, 22, and top pitching prospect in the left-handed Reyes, 21. Konerko and Reyes have spent time in the major and minor leagues this season.
Konerko, the Dodgers' opening-day first baseman, was selected the minor league player of the year last season, and the organization's minor league player of the year the previous two seasons. Reyes was the organization's minor league pitcher of the year last season, when he also became the first left-handed pitcher to start for the Dodgers in five seasons.
The Reds are building for the future, but Lasorda pushed for the deal to help the Dodgers win now. And to acquire someone of Shaw's caliber, Lasorda said he got the best deal he could.
"It's tough with Paul and Dennis because I love them both, and I respect their talent and desire to be in the Dodger organization," Lasorda said. "But what makes baseball so unpredictable is the fact that you sometimes have to get rid of guys you care for a great deal.
"In order to get something in this game, you have to give something up. As much as I love Paul Konerko, I feel that this club needs this relief pitcher desperately. You're talking about the best relief pitcher in baseball, and you ain't gonna get him cheap."
Konerko realized that he might be involved in the long-rumored deal for Shaw, but he was nonetheless surprised.
"No matter how long you deal with rumors, no matter how long people talk about it and tell you not to worry, it's a surprise when it does actually happen," Konerko said. "I've had an awkward situation here where I was beyond triple A with this organization, but I'm not an everyday player.
"I had 100-odd at-bats  here, but it seemed like it never really took off. If I stayed here, I feel I could have played every day and been a starter. But timing is everything."
Shortly after assuming his new role, Lasorda spoke with Cincinnati General Manager Jim Bowden about acquiring Shaw, who was selected the 1997 NL "fireman of the year" after leading the league with 42 saves.
Shaw ranks third in the league with 23 saves in 28 opportunities, and is 2-4 with a 1.81 earned-run average. The nine-year veteran was selected to his first All-Star game this season, where he will now represent the Dodgers, leaving the Reds without a selection.
But Shaw turns 32 on Tuesday, and he makes more than the rebuilding Reds prefer to pay.
Shaw, who makes $650,000 this season, signed a three-year contract extension in April that pays him $2.8 million annually. And Shaw's salary jumps to $3.5 million annually if he finishes among the top three relievers in 1999 or 2000 in the point system to determine the fireman of the year.
"This deal was not made for 1998--it was made for 2002," said Bowden, in reference to the year the Reds hope to move into a proposed new stadium.
"Jeff Shaw is one of my favorite players, and he ranks among the top people I've known, not only as a baseball player but as a person, in my nine years in the organization.
"He's a great influence on our younger guys, but he also turns 32 on Tuesday. By the time our new stadium opens, these guys [Konerko and Reyes] are going to be in the prime of their careers. That's why we made the deal."
Shaw was presumably disappointed about the trade, because he grew up near Cincinnati and accepted less money to remain with the Reds. Shaw abruptly left the stadium Saturday after the Reds' 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
He declined to speak with reporters and didn't return calls to his home. Shaw is not expected to join the team until Wednesday's mandatory workout after the All-Star game.
Konerko left the team after Saturday's game and is expected to arrive in Cincinnati today. Reyes was optioned to Class-A San Bernardino on Wednesday to remain on his pitching schedule during the break, and he is expected to join the Reds' triple-A team in Indianapolis in the next few days.
"We're trying to put the pieces in place to succeed in the future," Bowden said, "and we believe these guys can be a big part of that."
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
Trade By Numbers
\o7 Season statistics for the Paul Konerko, Dennis Reyes (to Cincinnati Reds) and All-Star Dennis Shaw (to Dodgers): \f7 *--*
AB R H HR RBI Avg Konerko 144 14 31 4 16 .215
IP W-L G BB SO ERA Reyes 28 2/3 0-4 11 20 33 4.71
IP W-L SV BB SO ERA Shaw 49 2/3 2-4 23 12 29 1.81